Ukrainian army is said to have used banned “butterfly mines”.

Not only Russian, but also Ukrainian troops are said to have scattered banned mines in the war zone – to the suffering of civilians.

The Ukrainian military is said to have used anti-personnel mines, also known as “butterfly” or “leaf” mines, against Russian occupying forces. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the widespread use of the banned landmines on Tuesday.

“Ukraine should investigate the alleged use by its own military of thousands of rocket-launched anti-personnel mines in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Izyum, which were scattered during the Russian occupation of the area,” HRW said in a statement. Isjum was occupied by Russian troops from April to September.

Mines drive civilians away

According to HRW, it is about the scattering of anti-aircraft mines by rockets or artillery. These mines couldn’t distinguish between soldiers and civilians, said Steve Goose, the organization’s director of weapons.

At the same time, the human rights organization also criticizes the Russian military for laying out such mines. “Russian forces have repeatedly used anti-personnel mines and committed atrocities across the country. However, this does not justify Ukraine’s use of these banned weapons.” The mines displaced civilians and hampered agriculture and the delivery of humanitarian goods.

HRW documented the use of the mines in nine different areas in and around the city of Izyum. The human rights organization counted eleven civilian victims and, according to the local health service, several dozen injured.

250,000 square kilometers in Ukraine contaminated by mines

At the beginning of January, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal complained that the Russian war of aggression had turned Ukraine into the world’s largest minefield. According to him, 250,000 square kilometers of the country are infested with mines – that corresponds to a good two-thirds of the area of ​​Germany.

The agreement banning anti-personnel mines was adopted in 1997, Ukraine joined in 1999 and ratified it in 2005. Russia has not joined the treaty, but according to HRW it still violates international law because of the indiscriminate effect of the mines.

Landmines are often only the size of the palm of your hand and can be spread over large areas from the ground or from the air with rockets. They lie in the ground and explode when someone approaches or steps on them.

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